Tired of making it just ITM

shinedown.45

shinedown.45

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I need some serious pointers on how to make it to the FT.
I am consistently making it ITM with an average of 90% of the field being eliminated.
Usually have average or just below average chip stack.
I make what I think are good raises at what I think are opportune times, try the occasional button steal and folding hands when I know I'm beat.
I play TAG(nit) with an average of 18% flops seen then loosen up later on when ITM and that's when it all goes to hell.
the following are my OPR stats for 2 months, the gap is the break I took from cash to play freerolls.
If anyone would like to look through a couple of my tourney histories(provided you have the time) PM me and I'll send them. I am seriously getting tired or playing for 3 or more hours just to make a profit of $1 or more.
Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated
 

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robwhufc

robwhufc

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I need some serious pointers on how to make it to the FT.

Here are my tips.

Get dealt big pocket pairs when opponents get dealt smaller pocket pairs.

Hit your draws.

Get your opponents to miss their draws.

Flop sets when you have small pocket pairs.

Flop 2 pair when opponents flop top pair.

Hope this helps.

Seriously, when the blinds are up and people are getting into the red zone, the game changes. You have to win your share of blinds (i'd try and win AT LEAST once per round, usually 3 per 2 rounds). Your cards are of less relevance than your situation - have opponents got the right size stack to be able to fold to a raise? Are some opponents not defending themselves at all? Hopefully you'll get the odd big hand every now and then (though more oftne than not you wont, or at least I dont), but other than that you have to realise that you just need a fair bit of luck, and the players outlasting you will often do so just because they have continously been dealt better hands, or have had better luck on the turn /river than you have.
 
Paranormal

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i disagree. i say you tighten up more when deep for a few reasons..

1. the blinds are huge and one or two mistakes trying to steal or whatever will leave you crippled.

2. when you raise deep more often then not if a small stack wants to play that pot they are with out a doubt 80% going to commit there whole stack .. think about this.. is the hand you are raising worth flipping a coin for whatever chips the people have left sitting behind you?

esp in online play when deep only enter a pot when you know you have the best of it or have no problems going all in with that hand.. if you know someone is stealing a blind.. fire back at them to resteal.. thats where you get your chips.. either restealing or all in show downs.. so pick your spots wisely and only show down when you have a monster!
 
Paranormal

Paranormal

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also whats more important

a double up a hour? or stealing a few blinds? think about it
 
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ph_il

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Dammit, my post was deleted. AUGH.

Anyway, I'll nutshell it for you. I think you're doing well in the early and mid stages. So maybe your problem is late stage play...

During the late stages, do not be afraid to get your money in the middle. Especially if you think you're in a race situation or better. At these stages, my actions are based more on opponents and the reads I have on them more than the cards itself. If I think someone is making a play and I can beat their range of hands they might be playing, I'll shove with anything better. Definitely, definitely, do not tighten up and try to sneak your way up the money ladder. The blinds are too high and will hurt your stack and the pots are too big to just ignore. Open-up your range of hands, raise, steal, re-steal, and do whatever you need to do to win the pot. The last thing you want to do is get blinded out so try to avoid that at all cost. Its better to push with a weak hand than it is to blind yourself out.
 
Paranormal

Paranormal

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no no no

all you should be doing is trying to stay afloat by only stealing once and a while.. let the other IDIOTS get knocked out or put there chips in when you have a monster.. patience is the key. a big hand WILL come eventuallly and thats where you double up! dont get caught doing something stupid...

i wish i knew how to make video's i would do one and show you what im saying....

i find myself always hovering at average or below average.. soon as that happens.. i tighten up like a nuns cooter...

then wait for the BIG one.. and sure enough it comes.. some idiot raises i go all in he calls i double up. and bam im back in the top 10% of chips..

meanwhile 15-20 people have just been knocked out.. trying to play aggressive and getting caught!
 
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ph_il

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i disagree. i say you tighten up more when deep for a few reasons..

1. the blinds are huge and one or two mistakes trying to steal or whatever will leave you crippled.
Huge blinds + antes = huge pots worth going after. On the other hand, blinds are too high to just tighten up since the antes and blinds will eat at your stack. You're doing more damage to your stack by not attempting to steal than just waiting for big hands. Stealing gives you 2 ways you can win: a) you take down PF or b) you take it down on a later street. You might get played back at every now and then and you'll be forced to fold but the reward of increasing your stack size by 20-30% is well worth stealing a pot or 2 for. Folding gives you no ways of winning the hand and if you let the blinds/antes get to you, you lose stealing power in the long run. Steal to stay alive.

2. when you raise deep more often then not if a small stack wants to play that pot they are with out a doubt 80% going to commit there whole stack .. think about this.. is the hand you are raising worth flipping a coin for whatever chips the people have left sitting behind you?
If you think you're in a coin-flip, ARRRR-IN! Also, this is why you need to pay attention to the table and see where everyones stack is in compared to the blinds. If there is a short stack, I'll fold weak-moderate hands that I wouldnt want to have an all in confrontation with, unless its only 10% of my stack Im risking...then I might with everything, except absolute garbage. However if I have a hand than can beat most shove-in hand ranges, then I'll gladly try and isolate with a short stack. Im most likely getting good odds on my money and I have a chance to knock out a player. Small risk for a big reward. This also depends on your position and players' action before and after you.

esp in online play when deep only enter a pot when you know you have the best of it or have no problems going all in with that hand.. if you know someone is stealing a blind.. fire back at them to resteal.. thats where you get your chips.. either restealing or all in show downs.. so pick your spots wisely and only show down when you have a monster!
above.
 
Paranormal

Paranormal

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i agree with some of it. but the main thing is position and the players at your table.

and that varies in each tourny

in no way do i think im a pro but if your at average or below stack then blind stealing should not be what your after.. if i have above average stack then im stealing like a crackhead. every situation is different and requires different approaches.. aggresive poker is winning poker...

all it takes is that one time you raise to steal a blind and someone all ins behind you.. having less chips then you.. and being pot commited you call.. you lose.. and bam your crippled.. say you fold that hand and get no blinds that round. you lose one blind.. but in the next round you get KK and someone doubles you up. would you rather double up with your whole stack or your crippled stack?


everyone has there own strategy.. this is just mine. it works for me so i thought i would post it
 
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ph_il

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no no no

all you should be doing is trying to stay afloat by only stealing once and a while.. let the other IDIOTS get knocked out or put there chips in when you have a monster.. patience is the key. a big hand WILL come eventuallly and thats where you double up! dont get caught doing something stupid...
Im not saying to play reckless and shove every hand. I still do a lot of folding at these late stages, but at the same time Im not afraid to get my money in the middle if I think I have the best hand. Also, you dont want to wait for 'eventually' because sometimes it doesnt come.

i find myself always hovering at average or below average.. soon as that happens.. i tighten up like a nuns cooter...
Be hand selective if you want, but dont tighten up too much. Again, Im not saying play reckless but dont just wait for a hand. Blinds are going to be attacking you and pots are worth going after. Look for opportunities to increase your stack, not wait for them.

then wait for the BIG one.. and sure enough it comes.. some idiot raises i go all in he calls i double up. and bam im back in the top 10% of chips..
And what if the BIG one doesnt come? Then what? Blind yourself out?

meanwhile 15-20 people have just been knocked out.. trying to play aggressive and getting caught!
above. Also, just to clarify, Im not arguing or question your strategy because its all situation. In some instances, I'll play tight and others Im more aggressive. So, it all depends. My strategy, just like yours, is not wrong and it isnt right. Also, I take some of your points into consideration as well.
 
Paranormal

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i have never been blinded out in a tourney.. actually 98% of the time i get sucked out of tournies.. and that i can live with
 
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ph_il

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I've never been blinded out of tournaments either because I dont let myself get that far down. I'd rather push with 84o than drop down too far where my opponents are getting good of odds to call with ATC.

Lets look at this example:

9 players, blinds at 1000-2000, antes 200

Its folded to you. You hold JJ with a stack of 6000 and you shove.
SB folds.
BB, with a stack of 40K calls you with 49o and flops 2 pair to beat you.

Is it a bad play on his part? Not at all because he was getting better than 2:1 odds on his money, he had a chance to knock you out, and if he loses its only affecting a small percent of his stack.

Im not saying you let your stack get this far down, but what do you do if the BIG one that comes 'eventually' comes a bit too late? You're not just stealing to build your stack, you're stealing to survive as well. And you're not going to cut it, most of the time, just by folding and waiting.

...Not unless your name is Aloevera.
 
KenFischer

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I'm generally doing a hybrid of these two conflicting recommendations. The only times that I really loosen up and actively steal is when we approach the bubble or the next payout level on the ladder - this usually gives me enough to survive playing tight the rest of the time.

If I get short, then I have to pick a hand and try to double-up of course.

My results for MTT play (from thepokerDB) are:
Total played: 341
Cashes: 61 (17.89%)
Final Tables: 13 (3.81%)
Top 3 finish: 4 (1.17%)

Since you two have very different styles, I'd be interested in seeing how your numbers compare if you are willing to share them.

(If you don't have a pokerDB account and want me to look it up for you, you can PM your id/site to me.)
 
Paranormal

Paranormal

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I've never been blinded out of tournaments either because I dont let myself get that far down. I'd rather push with 84o than drop down too far where my opponents are getting good of odds to call with ATC.

Lets look at this example:

9 players, blinds at 1000-2000, antes 200

Its folded to you. You hold JJ with a stack of 6000 and you shove.
SB folds.
BB, with a stack of 40K calls you with 49o and flops 2 pair to beat you.

Is it a bad play on his part? Not at all because he was getting better than 2:1 odds on his money, he had a chance to knock you out, and if he loses its only affecting a small percent of his stack.

Im not saying you let your stack get this far down, but what do you do if the BIG one that comes 'eventually' comes a bit too late? You're not just stealing to build your stack, you're stealing to survive as well. And you're not going to cut it, most of the time, just by folding and waiting.

...Not unless your name is Aloevera.

i woulf of been all in long before 6k in chips here.. anything under 20k is all in or fold..

if i got down to 6k and lost with my JJ then thats poker
 
Paranormal

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btw i will steal with kj or qj or small pair.. but the steal only works if the table thinks your tight..
 
robwhufc

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no no no

all you should be doing is trying to stay afloat by only stealing once and a while.. let the other IDIOTS get knocked out or put there chips in when you have a monster.. patience is the key. a big hand WILL come eventuallly and thats where you double up! dont get caught doing something stupid...

i wish i knew how to make video's i would do one and show you what im saying....

i find myself always hovering at average or below average.. soon as that happens.. i tighten up like a nuns cooter...

then wait for the BIG one.. and sure enough it comes.. some idiot raises i go all in he calls i double up. and bam im back in the top 10% of chips..

meanwhile 15-20 people have just been knocked out.. trying to play aggressive and getting caught!

I'd like to see that too.

"ooh, I hope my next hand is a big pair - darn!"
"ooh, I hope my next hand is a big pair - darn!"
"ooh, I hope my next hand is a big pair - darn!"

Etc etc etc.

When the blinds are high, you've maybe got 20-30 hands left. I've played numerous MTT's Ring games, SnG's where i've not had a pair or big ace in 75+ hands, so you simply cannot say it WILL come.

I'm certainly more than happy that you (and loads like you) play like this, and I wouldn't want you to change for anything. You might run the luck to the odd final table, but the better players are those that make their own luck, that can win with or without the cards, and that obviously aint you.

Shinedown, hopefully you are smart and experienced enough (i'm confident enough that you are) to ignore this posters suggestions.
 
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dpc

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Shinedown,
I'm just starting playing tourneys so I don't know how qualified I am to advise you...but I am doing OK I think. I mostly play 90's though and occasionally some larger ones in the 300-500 range. (I'm dpc3 on FT if you want to look me up on OPR). One I thing I will recommend is to read Harrington On Hold Em, if you haven't already (I am reading Vol 1 right now, and I have all three). One point he does make which might be helpful to you is when you get near the bubble and its time to loosen up a bit and start stealing its best to pick on the medium stacks...the small ones will probably just go all in which you may not want depending on your hand, and the large ones can knock you out if you make a wrong move. Anyway, in Vol 2 Harrington goes into the whole late stage/bubble strategy, and when you should be just pushing all-in, depending on your M. I tend to get pretty aggressive near the cash bubble, and I focus on people with medium stacks and/or people that I think are playing too tight/passive. IMO you have to loosen it up when the blinds are large, and stealing is a must or you will either get blinded out or will just squeak into the money then probably not last much longer. Anyway good luck!
 
shinedown.45

shinedown.45

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Well paranormal, if I hadn't already been playing the style you use, I wouldn't make as far as I do in tourney's but this style only gets me so far.
After reading through the posts I believe philthy has pointed out the problem I'm having and that is in the late stages.
I really do not know when to change gears.
So now my question is this: If I make it deep in a tourney, at what point should I change gears or at what "M" level should I start making moves?
 
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Ldpokercj5

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I think a big thing is late in MTT's is just picking your spots and picking your players to bully around. You dont have to win this pot that goes to the river late in the tournament you can just win the blinds or a little more a few times and you'll be just fine and no one should ever have a clue what your playing at this point. Also I suggest once you get close to the FT (if there is a big difference in $$ from 9 to 10) start picking on the little guys cause they are not gonna put up much of a fight and even if they do win the hand from you most likely they would not put a huge hurting on your chips you already accumulated and they will end up giving them back due not wanting to be busted.
 
KenFischer

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Also I suggest once you get close to the FT (if there is a big difference in $$ from 9 to 10) start picking on the little guys cause they are not gonna put up much of a fight and even if they do win the hand from you most likely they would not put a huge hurting on your chips you already accumulated and they will end up giving them back due not wanting to be busted.

The small stacks are looking for anyone that they can double-up through - if you push them around, be prepared to get called.

It's usually more successful to raise the blinds of the medium stacks. They don't feel like they have to play a hand just to survive, and they also know that they stand to lose the most if they get crippled by losing to a similar stack.
 
Emperor IX

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Para: Aggressive poker IS winning poker, but if you're only being aggressive every few rounds when you can only LAST a few rounds anyway then it's just losing poker. When the blinds get big you have to do your share of stealing. You can't just always play tight and wait for good hands. You MUST adjust your strategy in accordance with your M, otherwise you're just relying on pure luck of the cards to get any farther.
 
JimmyBrizzy

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When your M gets to 5 or lower you should be pushing a lot more with almost any two cards that would give you a decent shot at winning (say 30-40%) against random cards if everyone doesn't end up folding.

If you dont understand M strategy you should read Harrington on Hold'em 2, or search this forum. M is basically how many times around the table you can make it until you would be blinded out.

At an M of 5 you need to get aggressive pushing with lots of hands and trying to steal blinds and antes. If you sit around and wait for good hands you will either be blinded, people wont call you because they know you have been sitting there waiting (much more noticable at higher levels of play, might not be a problem at 1 dollar tournies), or they will call you because your chip stack is basically negligable compaired to theirs (10 to 1 rule from Harrington as well).

Make sure when you get close to an M of 5 you are also opening the pot up first and that there are not raises or many limpers in front of you (unless you do happen to get that big hand). This strategy comes from the principal that you need a stronger hand to call/reraise than to initially raise with. If you see people raising and reraising in front of you, wait with your low pockets and iffy hands (KJ, Q10 etc...). You'll have a better chance of stealing and sticking around if you are the first one to open it up and will most likely have less people involved in the pot, increasing your chances of winning even if you are still the underdog.

Good luck.
 
bluesboy47

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Well supported arguements for both positions. I have to agree with KenFIscher and recommend a hybird. One problem with playing tight and waiting for a good hand is these hands are rare and as pointed out your stack will be eaten up rather quickly. Been there done that. Another problem is if you are seen as a tight conservative player then when you do get a hand no one is going to call. They want you out not in. With you small stack there comes a point where your only option is going on in, not an option you really want to face.

The example of playing JJ by paranomal is a very poor example. JJ while look nice are not strong hands and lead to a lot of trouble. Better off playing aggressively with AK.

The bottom line is play tight when you need to but don't be afraid to play aggressively when the opportunity presents itself.
 
KenFischer

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The bottom line is play tight when you need to but don't be afraid to play aggressively when the opportunity presents itself.

This brings up a good point - when you are waiting to make a move, you aren't just sitting back waiting for a hand. What you are waiting for is an opportunity.

Good hands can certainly make for good opportunities, but good opportunities don't always require a good hand. Situational plays (being the first raiser in position, re-stealing, or picking up pots where you sense that the other players missed the flop) are just as valuable - success comes as you learn how to identify the right spots to make those moves.
 
royalburrito24

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Well paranormal, if I hadn't already been playing the style you use, I wouldn't make as far as I do in tourney's but this style only gets me so far.
After reading through the posts I believe philthy has pointed out the problem I'm having and that is in the late stages.
I really do not know when to change gears.
So now my question is this: If I make it deep in a tourney, at what point should I change gears or at what "M" level should I start making moves?

When your M is between say 15 and 20, I say start making your moves. Your job as a medium stack is to pick on the larger stacks. You can steal all their blinds all day, because if they run into one of your monsters, they are severely crippled. Larger stacks are less likely to try and play back at you, while smaller stack will push all day.
As a smaller stack, with an M of 10-15, you need to pick on those medium stacks. Steer clear of the tall monster stacks, because they can call with a wide range of hands. Attack the medium stacks, steal their blinds. They will most likely be holding a small range of hands when they play back at you.
M of .0000000000000000001-10 you do not have much FE on the other players, and you got to shove and hope for the best.
Really, you just have to pay attention to each player at the table. Mark down who the LAGs and TAGs are. Attack the TAGs when they are in the blinds, let the LAGs attack and play back at them a few times.
You must pick your spots, and for the most part, the strength of your hand does not matter.
Also, what I like to do in tournaments is to make my steals from various positions. Sometimes steal from the button, sometimes from MP and sometimes from early position, but never from the same position repeatedly, as it will become a pattern and the better opponents will pick up on it, and nail you.
Hope this helped, and I hope some of this had not already been said, as I had not read every single post.
 
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Ranny

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A couple of quick points:

1) You sound like you are playing good tag poker, problem with the later stages, when only the better players remain is they recognise your game and will bully constantly. You have probably shown that you will lay down and big stacks will push you off hands.

2) You also say yor regularly get to 'itm' with average chips, again this is no good. it sounds like your whole play is to survive and conserve chips instead of all out stack building. The vast majority of winnings available are on the ft and top 3 especially, so risks have to be taken earlier. Far better to play 6 mtts, crash out early in 5 and make ft on 6th. This will make you more than 6 just scraping into the money.

If you use fulltilt, look for a high buy in mtt and watch some of the pros early stages, you will be shocked as to pot sizes versus blinds. They are best at getting deep so take note.
 
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